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Grilled Smokey Vegetarian Leeks and Asparagus

Updated on February 11, 2013
Rich flavor and deeply bright colors abound in this vegetarian grilled leeks and asparagus recipe.
Rich flavor and deeply bright colors abound in this vegetarian grilled leeks and asparagus recipe. | Source

No Good Vegetarian Restaurants

I will admit that finding a restaurant menu that has a creative and genuinely yummy item for vegetarians is rare (if you do find one hold on to it). In an effort to thwart the stigma surrounding vegetarian foods, I am giving you a few really fancy, full flavored and absolutely yummy vegetarian appetizer recipes to serve to all of your hunters and gatherers alike. Even the biggest carnivore at the table will enjoy these provocative hearty vegetarian starters. You may be surprised when the carnivore in your life ask you for your vegetarian recipe!

Vegetarians and Carnivores

Hunters And Gatherers

The big question when it comes to healthy eating is whether we decide to be hunters or gatherers. To consume meaty appetizers and recipes or enjoy vegetarian appetizers and recipes. For most Americans anyway, it is all about the hunt; red meat, white meat, poultry and anything else that renders meat protein to the dinner table. However, the group of lean heart-healthy gatherers are usually active Americans and are generally vegetarian. Red meat, or any meat for that matter, will not cross their lips for the sake of health—but more likely for the sake of humanity. The hunter prefers a hearty meal with bold taste, while most believe that the vegetarian is satisfied with the bland array of colorful yet subtle flavor provided by the world of vegetarianism. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Find The Nearest Vegetarian Friendly Restraunt By City!

Find the local vegetarian restaurant you have been searching for! Happy Cow vegetarian / vegan guide. Simply input your city and state and instantly find the nearest vegetarian restaurant! You can search by price, vegan, vegetarian, vegetarian friendly, or by distance. Check it out!

Vegetarian Grilled Leeks and Asparagus


Asparagus and Leeks

  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and trimmed leaving about 7"
  • 20 stalks of asparagus rinsed and trimmed to about 7"
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • kitchen string

2. Vinaigrette of Confetti

  • 1 TBL Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TBL honey
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 C fresh herbs chopped (basil,parsley, mint, tarragon, chives, thyme)
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 C finely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 C diced kalamata olives

Serves 4

What You Think Really Does Matter!

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How To Prepare Leeks and Asparagus

Cut leeks into four sections lengthwise for a total of eight sections. Rinse thoroughly under water or in a cool water bath being certain all of the sand is cleaned out. (No one wants to eat sandy food, and leeks get sand deep in the layers). Take a length of kitchen string and tie 5 asparagus spears and 2 leek quarters together. In an already boiling pot of water, blanch the veggies for 2 minutes. Remove from hot water and place in ise bath to stop the cooking process for about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. (This portion of the recipe can be done ahead of time.)

Prepare your outside grill and have it heated to a medium temperature. Liberally brush veggie bundles with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and place on grill for 3-4 minutes per side. (this should total 6-8 minutes of cooking time). Most important is to make certain that the leeks are caramelized to a golden tone and that the asparagus are heated through. Place them on plates and remove string. Spoon a generous amount of vinaigrette over the top and serve.

Making the vinaigrette of confetti; whisk together the mustard, vinegar, garlic, oil, herbs, honey and salt in a medium sized bowl. Mix in bell peppers and olives after other ingredients have emulsified.

Vegetarian Appetizers

Napoleons - Vegetarian style

Ther Is Nothing Short About These Napoleon Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2" thick slices (rounds-should number 8 slices total).
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" thick slices on diagonal (should number 8 slices total).
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2" thick slices on diagonal (should number 8 slices total).
  • 1 TBL kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices horizontally
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, chervil, oregano, sage, and rosemary)
  • 3 ounces of feta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs (6"-each) fresh *rosemary

Serves 4

Eggplant, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes collide to stack this beautiful vegetarian Napoleon high with taste and nutrition!
Eggplant, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes collide to stack this beautiful vegetarian Napoleon high with taste and nutrition! | Source


Preheat oven to 400°F

Brush a large baking sheet with 1 TBL olive oil. Put the eggplant slices on the sheet and and brush the surface with another TBL of oil. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Turn eggplant over and add yellow squash and zucchini to baking sheet. Brush surface of all veggies with more oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for another 7 minutes.

Putting the napoleon's together

Place a slice of eggplant on a clean work surface. Put a slice of tomato and some of the herb mix on top. place a slice of zucchini and a slice of yellow squash on top of them. Repeat the layers in this same order until you have four stacks of napoleons with 2 slices each of the veggies stacked up. Sprinkle the feta over and around the napoleons. *Using the rosemary twigs , remove all but the top 2" of leaves from the twigs (add the leaves you remove from the twig to your herb blend). Run the twig through the center of the napoleon to secure the stack leaving the remaining rosemary leaves at the top of the twig showing for garnish. Serve warm.

You can assemble the napoleons ahead of time. Simply leave off the feta and refrigerate the stacks. When you are getting ready to serve, reheat them in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes and then add feta when you remove them from oven to serve.

Who knew that parsnips, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese could offer a vegetarian appetizer packed with flavor worth fighting for!
Who knew that parsnips, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese could offer a vegetarian appetizer packed with flavor worth fighting for! | Source

WHY AM I A VEGETARIAN (3 min. 43 sec. video)

Vegetarian Parsnips, Parm & Potatoes Parsley

what you'll need

  • 3 roundish russet potatoes- peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 4 small or 2 large parsnips- peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 5 quarts of water
  • 1 TBL kosher salt
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 C half-and-half
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese (not the powder-in-a-green-can stuff)
  • 1 C fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic very finely minced
  • 5 stalks green onions chopped into thin rounds
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Serves 6 to 8


Boil potatoes and parsnips in water with 1 TBL kosher salt added. Cook until fork tender. Drain off the water. Using a mixer (not a food processor), put the hot potatoes, parsnips, butter, garlic,half-and-half, nutmeg, Parmesan, parsley, 1 tsp salt and cayenne pepper in the mixer bowl. On low speed, beat the mixture using the paddle attachment until blended and creamy. Taste for seasoning (add salt only if needed). Place into a serving dish and serve while hot.

You can make this recipe ahead of time and refrigerate. If doing so, pour mixture into an oven safe dish cover and place in refrigerator. Later when you're ready to prepare it, reheat in a preheated 350ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered.


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